Ghana Votes

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ghana Elections 2012 Daily News Review - 20th April, 2012

Top Stories from the Newspapers for 20th April, 2012 include:

1.       Man arrested for voting 15 times

2.       Biometric Registration-updates

3.       Kennedy Agyapong Granted Bail

4.       Kufuor tasks Mills over growing political tension

5.       IEA inaugurates Presidential Debates Committee for Election 2012

Today's review begins with a story in about three news papers about a 47 year old man who was nabbed by the Odorkor police for registering 15 times in the ongoing biometric voters registration exercise. The Daily Graphic on its front page banner, Man Arrested for Registering 15 Times adds that Archibald Laryea was picked up at the Naroda polling station at Sakaman in the Ablekuma North Constituency on Accra Tuesday, when he attempted to register for the 16th time. The Ghanaian Times also reports this under the headline Man, 47, registers 15 times. The Daily Guide further informs us in the headline 'Man Registers 15 times' that when the police arrested him, their main problems were; which of his over 16 cluster of names and ages they should believe. Just as his actual name was in doubt so was his real age because he had many of them.

Updating us on the ongoing biometric exercise, The Daily Graphic reports; 3,829 Biometric Applicants Challenged.  A total of 3,829 had their applications challenged throughout the country as of the end of the second phase of the biometric voters registration exercise. Currently, the Electoral Commission (EC) has registered eight million voters.

Still on statistics, we are told that Greater Accra registers 1,737,663 voters in phases 1&2. The Chronicle adds that the Greater Accra Region has  recorded  1,737,663 in the first  and second  phases of the biometric  voters' registration exercise, according  to provisional results  released by the Electoral Commission (EC) of  Ghana .According  to the Deputy  Commissioner of the EC, Mr. Sarfo Kantaka although the registration at the  initial  stage encountered some problems such  technical and  operational challenges, the  first phase recorded 999,846, while the  second  also registered 737,817 people in the region.

The Chronicle ended updates from the on-going biometric registration in a headline; 6 NPP agents put before court. Prestea Huni-Valley and  the Juabeso constituencies in the Western  Region have been identified as two  constituencies which  have  been  characterized by chaos and violence as the biometric  registration  exercise progresses  day after day. The level of chaos and violence has resulted in the two topping ranking in the region.

The Ghanaian Times on page 3 reports the condemnation of violence by the peace council and its headline; Peace Council Condemns Violence. The National Peace Council has condemned all acts of violence which have characterized the ongoing biometric voters' registration in some parts of the country. It has equally condemned the brutalities meted out to people, irrespective of their party affiliation at some registration centers. Still on that the daily graphic indicated uses the banner Use freedom responsibly-Peace Council in adding that The National Peace Council yesterday expressed worry about the use of the media to create tension in the country.It, therefore, called   on the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) and its affiliate bodies and sister organizations to promote media freedom in a more responsible manner.

Further stories on peace talks as reported in the Daily Graphic bring to our knowledge that Traditional rulers must ensure peace at registration centres. The Tema Mantse, Nii Adjei Kraku, has urged traditional leaders to get involved in maintaining peace at registration centres by educating their subjects to refrain from violence.  He noted that areas where violence were recorded fall under the jurisdiction of powerful traditional rulers so he urged them to intensify their roles as fathers and mothers to bring to the fore the consequences of violence. 

With updates from the arrest of the Assin North MP, The Daily Graphic with its headline Kennedy Agyapong Has Been Granted Bail informs readers that there was spontaneous jubilation within and outside the Accra Fast Track High Court Tuesday afternoon, when the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Agyapong, was granted bail in the sum of GH¢200,000 with one surety to be justified. The Ghanaian Times also reports this under its front page heading 'Two Bails For Ken'.The New Statesman further informs us that with its banner 'Ken Agyepong granted bail', adding that this followed another round of legal battle between the state and a team of lawyers of the embattled MP and number one anti-corruption crusader against the Mills- Mahama led government. The Daily Guide also reports this in the headline Kennedy freed. In reporting the same story with the caption 'Ken freed… says 'I have no hatred for Voltarians)', the Crusading Guide contributes to this by saying that Vociferous politician and freedom fighter, Kennedy Agyapong, Member of Parliament for Assin North in the Central Region – who was arrested Monday by the police over statements he had made on radio, which were considered treasonable by the security agencies – has emphasized that he has no hatred for people from the Volta Region of Ghana (called Voltarians).

Various concerns have been made by groups and individuals in relation to utterances made by Hon. Ken Agyapong. The Daily Graphic writes that Civil Society groups condemn Kennedy Agyepong. Civil society Groups in the country have condemned the utterances of the NPP Member of Parliamentary (MP) for Assin North, Kennedy Ohene Agyepong. They, however, called on the leadership of the political parties, particularly the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Party NDC) to publicly reprimand and sanction their supporters who insult, incite and malign their political opponents.

The New Statesman also indicated that Kufuor tasks Mills over growing political tension. Former president John Aygekum Kufuor has called on President John Atta Mills to take steps to douse rising tension resulting from the arrest of Kennedy Agyepong, the Member of Parliament for Assin North. Former President Kufuor, who is attending meetings in Washington DC, warned against the escalation of tension, especially in this election year, and appealed to President Mills to instruct the police not to leave any impressions of partisanship in the discharge of their duties.

Other developments in page 4 of The New Statesman also reports brings to our notice that AFAG charges CCG, CDD to be fair. The Alliance for Accountable Governance says it is disappointed by the reactions from the Christian Council of Ghana, the Centre Democratic Development and Kpesah Whyte concerning the arrest of the Assin North MP, Kennedy Agyepong. According to Nana Ayew Afriyie, Chairman of AFAG, Dr, Whyte and the two bodies refused to interrogate what prompted the Member of Parliament to make that statement but rather chose to chastise him in a hypocritical manner.


The Heritage reported in its headline; Blood thirsty politicians to be dragged to International courts that the Ghanaian Centre of PEN International, a leading advocate for the freedom of expression and human rights has served as strong notice to politicians and the media to prepare to be dragged to the International Criminal Court of Justice should they fail to ensure violence-free elections come December. According to PEN International, should Ghana's political leaders and the media fail in their duty to safe-guard the peace of the nation and lead the country to bloodshed, they will be made to pay dearly.

Politicians were urged not to sow seeds of discord, The Daily Graphic tells the story; Politicians urged not to sow seed of discord -Page-13.The University for Development Studies (USD), Wa Campus chapter of the Volta Region Students Association, Ghana (VORSAG) has called on politicians not to foster discord among the various ethnic groups in the country. It said the people of Volta Region, and for that matter Ewes in general, saw themselves as Ghanaians first before any other considerations and, therefore, it would not be in the interest of the country for people to preach divisions.

The Heritage ends the day's review with its heading 'IEA inaugurates Presidential Debates Committee for Election 2012'. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) will on Wednesday April 25, inaugurate a Presidential Debate Committee to organise and host three Presidential Debates for Presidential Candidates of Election 2012.The committee, "IEA Presidential Debate Committee-2012", is expected to map out strategies that would shape Election 2012 and the future of democracy in Ghana and Africa.

This daily news review is compiled by African Elections Project (AEP) Media Monitoring Centre, Accra, Ghana.

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